Spontaneous Relaxation

StarbucksSometimes having a spontaneous change in plans is a good thing!

After arriving home from work, I was so down in the dumps. All my stress over the past few weeks had caught up with me. I sat in front of the computer screen with my head in my hands.

My husband proclaimed he didn’t think it was a good idea for me to work on the computer right after getting home from work. And yes, I was actually working on something; not just surfing the net, playing a game, or Facebooking.

He suggested a change of plans. Instead of running the distance we were supposed to tonight, we ran a fast mile. And instead of working on things at home, we got out of the house and relaxed at Starbucks.

Sure, there were a number of things we could have been working on at home. But every once in a while we need to be able to step back, recognize what in reality has to be done, and drop everything else. Take a break.

I know now that I needed one. I feel so much better. So why don’t you, go take a break?

Gazelle Hooves & Hide (per my husband)

Last summer my husband and I went through Financial Peace University. We were so inspired, we wrote down some goals for ourselves! We set four years as our timeline to reach our listed goals. It hasn’t been a year yet, and we’re ahead! I know things will happen we don’t expect, that may set us back. But that’s what the emergency fund is for, right?

Anyway, I thought I’d share some pictures with you of a couple of my “Dave” clothes.

The toes all scuffed up...

The toes all scuffed up…

Four holes in the soles

Four holes in the soles

I don’t even really remember when I got these boots. I know it was before getting married, and we have been married for almost seven years. I wore these almost every single day at work. Fortunately we had enough money left over from Christmas bonuses this past year, I was able to buy a replacement pair!

Holes in the knees

Holes in the knees…

Not bought this way...

Not bought this way

These pants remind me how God has such perfect timing! I have had these pants for thirteen years. They did not get those holes until January 2013! after I received another pair for Christmas, and we had enough money for me to buy a couple more pairs of jeans. Crazy!

It can be a struggle to be “gazelle intense“, but when you have absolutely amazing goals for your future, and you and your spouse are on the same page, it can be pretty exciting too!

What crazy things have you come across in being “gazelle intense”? What made you go for it? Got any advice for us?

5 a.m. What?

5 a.m. Some people view that time….literally, because that’s when they wake up or are already awake. Most people I know….see 5 a.m. and cringe!

No one wants to wake at 5 a.m!

No one wants to wake at 5 a.m!

I used to think I was not a morning person. But knew I was definitely not a night owl. I liked to say I was an afternoon person….whatever that means.

Anyway, the past several days my husband and I have been attempting to create the habit of waking up at 5 a.m. I mentioned in a previous post (Purposeful, Intentional, Productive) that I had spent the last week of NaNoWriMo getting up that early. It’s easier to rise when you have a very specific goal in the morning. Also, December being a hectic, holiday-filled month, getting up that early was sporadic at best. We have progressed to rising earlier than 5:30, so still in the middle of transitioning into the habit of a 5 a.m. rise and shine. But we’re getting there!

Why?? Why are we attempting something so crazy, when we don’t have to? ….you may ask.

Because all the people we want to be like… The leaders. The achievers. The people who make a big impact on the world around them…. All those people we look up to, and want to be like, were self-disciplined enough to be early risers. At 5 a.m. you don’t have the interruptions that you have the rest of the day. That first hour in the day, you can do whatever you like. Every day. Consistently. Which in turn, enables you to achieve your dreams!

What habits help you to achieve your dreams? Are your dreams important enough to you, to alter your lifestyle?

NaNoWriMo!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is officially the first day of NaNoWriMo 2012!!

Thus I wrote this post the night before, so all I had to do was hit the “Publish” button tonight. (I should have prepared all my November posts pre-nano…oh well)

A few of you might remember I attempted NaNoWriMo last year. I was not a winner–I reached somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 words before quitting. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to churn out 50,000 words before the clock strikes midnight November 30th. Fortunately the goal is not quality. Only quantity. Which makes good practice for those of us who have a hard time moving on when our draft doesn’t sound quite right. And that’s the main reason I attempted last year–practice in imperfection. But this year my mindset is completely different!

I finally believe in myself as a writer. I believe God wants me to publish books. So my goal this year is to have at least 50,000 words of a first draft by the end of November!

Just as there was a difference between the first time I started training for a marathon (and didn’t follow through) and the second time (I reached my goal!), there is a definite difference between how I started NaNoWriMo last year, and now. I even came up with a motivational tool:  money in an envelope….enough to cover a Christian Writer’s Guild membership, a NaNoWriMo t-shirt, and a celebratory dinner. If I reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, I get my reward! If I don’t, my husband gets to blow the money. And yes, he did promise not to sabotage my goal!

Wish me luck and hold me to it! And good luck, fellow NaNoWriMo’ers!

When Everything Falls Into Place

Don’t you just love that feeling?

That feeling of everything seeming to fit together just perfectly….

We left what we had with nothing ahead of us (Changes in the New Year). After a month of job hunting, I found a job…that I’m still so thankful for (Got Job?)! As far as a place to live….we kept looking, and looking, and looking….(He Will Lead Us Home.)… Until now!!

Now we are signed up to move into an apartment in August. I’m so excited! It’s perfect. It’s within our price range, but nicer than others we looked at. There are a number of walking/running/biking trails, which will be perfect for my marathon training (Here We Go Again…) And they will accept our pets. And….

Some even awesomer news… My husband got a job with a great company, and starts in July!

I’m shaking my head at myself right now. We used to live in a rental house and our landlady decided to sell. At the time I had been so worried…what are we going to do, where are we going to live, etc. Then, at just the right moment, God provided a home. (Financial Obstacles) I declared I would never worry again–ha!

I was less worried this time around, but the worry was still there. I am sure this will not be the last time God gives me an opportunity to strengthen my faith!

Psalm 119:105

Anniversary Surprise!

Our six year anniversary held a sweet, wonderful surprise…

My steering wheel decided it didn’t like turning anymore, and instead of our planned celebratory evening, the evening was spent getting the car checked over.

Bleh.

The guy at the shop said it was probably the steering fluid. I asked if it could be electrical, since I heard a number of clicks and saw lights flashing before the steering went out. So he said he would check the battery. (That’s not what I meant by electrical)

He could find nothing wrong, so sent me off.

I went home and my husband took it for a drive. He discovered a few additional things not working:  the power windows would only go up and down in park; not drive or reverse, the radio = no sound, shifting sometimes refused to happen (it’s not good doing 25 at 4,000 rpm).

The next day my husband took it to a shop where one of the workers did not want to look at it because they thought it was possessed.

The third day, the problem was finally figured out. And fortunately it was only one thing that needed replaced:  the computer.

When you only have one vehicle, zero extra money, and you’re supposed to be celebrating your marriage…. It can be a little stressful.

Fortunately, I have the most wonderful husband in the world! Besides hugs and prayers, he made time for us to celebrate the day after our anniversary. He took me out for a picnic at a gorgeous park. It was perfect!

The Picnic

Got Job?

As most of you know, I’ve been looking for another job for several months. And resigned from my last job a month ago to pursue finding another full time.

I start my new job Monday, a job that appears to fit me perfectly!

How I got my new job seems, to me, like a pretty amazing story, so I wanted to share…

We temporarily moved in with my husband’s brother and sister-in-law, so I could be in town for interviews. My sister-in-law invited me to a Bible study she attends Wednesday mornings, Bible Study Fellowship International. I went to their introductory class the first week. They have you fill out a form if you are interested in participating. I figured, or rather hoped, I would not be available for much longer… You know, hoping to get a job. But I chose to sign up anyway. It sounded like something great to be a part of, even for a short while.

My sister-in-law told me she wouldn’t be able to make it the next week, and I almost considered not going. But chose to go, knowing it would be good for me, and she needed me to pick up the next lesson for her.

My last blog entry, Got Stress? Got Bible?, described the “feeling like crap” obstacles I faced the morning of that second Wednesday. And when I typed that entry, I realized why the devil might not want me at the Bible study, but didn’t want to post something I felt might happen.

That second Wednesday, I shared my search for a job as a prayer request. The women in my small group asked what kind of work I was looking for, etc. so they could keep their ears/eyes open for me (which meant a lot). That evening my small group leader called and asked if she could give my phone number to one of the members. They were possibly interested in me for a position at their company.

What ensued was a great phone call, application via e-mail, and a very enjoyable interview that included our spouses. Both my husband and I felt this was the position God had for me. It was my number one choice. At the same time, I interviewed a couple other places. Good practice and nice to have backups!

I knew one of the other places was going to offer me a job, and hoped they would do so after my number one choice hopefully did the same. It was not to be. When I got the call, I told the other position my husband and I had a couple determining factors to figure out and asked if I could let them know later today. Then my husband and I prayed, and I called my number one choice. I told them I had been offered another job. And the reason I was letting them know was because they were my number one choice. I knew it wasn’t fair to put that kind of pressure on them, but wanted to know if they had someone else in mind for the position, or if they were thinking of hiring me. They told me they had written up a job offer letter for me last night! And just hadn’t sent it via e-mail yet! Wow.

So… They sent me the letter. I accepted, of course!

Do you know your destination?

So. The “reason” the devil didn’t want me at that Bible study:  I would have never found out about the job God specifically wanted me to have!

Thank you, new bosses, for seeing what you needed in me. Thank you, my husband, for believing in me. Thank you, sister-in-law, for starting it all by inviting me to your Bible study.

And most importantly, THANK YOU, GOD!!

Now we just need to sell our house….

People…And the impact they have on our lives

“Hi, Laura! This is ________ from _________. Not sure why but you have been on my heart all morning. Just want you to know that your sweet spirit is valued and appreciated! Praying that you have an abundantly blessed day!”

I received that text the other day and boy did it lift my spirits!

People are definitely important when it comes to pursing “impossible” dreams. No matter how determined we are in our pursuit, there will be key points in our journey when we need encouragement.

There will be people who temporarily appear in our lives, people who impact only a part of our lives, and those who have a huge impact on our lives.

"man's best friend"

My husband definitely has a huge impact on my life. I know it’s cliché to say my husband is my best friend, but it’s true! He is the first person to believe in me. He has helped me develop into who I am today. I know he loves me despite (or maybe because of!) my imperfections. I used to cry over spilt milk, literally. He would stop me, make me look into his eyes, tell me that he loved me; it was okay, an accident, and taught me the best four-letter word out there:  oops. I know if I have a hard day, I am coming home to someone who loves me.

The other person who has influenced my life as much (or maybe more) is my dad. He laid the foundation for who I am becoming. I remember growing up, my dad would come into my room before I went to sleep and we would kneel next to the bed. We would solve the world’s problems and pray together. There are three reasons why those moments had such an impact on me:  My dad listened to me, responding with care and respect—that showed me I had value. My dad would share his thoughts, explaining the “whys” behind them—that taught me to consider everything before making decisions. My dad made sure we prayed about specific things, instead of just going through the motions—that taught me the importance of prayer. I am constantly reminded of how much I owe my dad for who I have already become.

A friend of mine recently called, crying. She said she just needed to talk to someone who loved her, understood what it was like to be an emotional female, and would not take her conflict the wrong way. Her description is the type of friend I view her as. It was not long before she began to feel better, and I was glad she called me. That type of friend can be rare and should always be treasured.

Another person, whose friendship is a more recent development, is my writing partner. Getting away from the norm to talk about writing, goals, life, hardships….while drinking chai lattes and eating cookies just out of the oven….is the best! Those times bring relaxation, clarity of mind, and a sense of life coming together (even if it really isn’t!) In other words, her friendship provides a much-needed break from the daily grind!

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”  -Eleanor Roosevelt

Who has impacted your life?